Stammering, stuttering and dysfluency all mean the same thing, a difficulty with the co-ordination and flow of speech. Syllables, words or phrases may be repeated, sounds may be stretched out or stuck completely.
For many children it is a brief phase lasting a few weeks or months but for others it can last longer. Stammering often starts between the ages of 2 and 4 years, around the time when children are learning lots of new words and sounds. This is also when they have lots of ideas and questions they want to ask. It can appear very gradually or appear suddenly, almost overnight. For many children it is highly variable with episodes when it can be very noticeable and others when it is much milder.
Around 60% of children who stammer have a family history. Although stammering can often start around a period of change like starting nursery or a new sibling arriving, these are not the cause. Nobody causes stammering but there are lots of ways to help.
Advice For Younger Children
There are many ways to help a young child who stammers including:
Learning about stammering so that it feels less worrying.
Keeping your child chatting and developing their language and communication skills, whether they are stammering or not.
Learning about what you can do at home to help.
Exploring therapy options, including approaches that are specifically designed for pre-school children who stammer.
Advice For Older Children
There are many ways to help a young person who stammers including:
Learning about stammering
Supporting them to develop confidence speaking
Supporting the to increase their self-esteem
Meeting other people who stammer
Talking to family and teachers so they can offer support.
You can contact the Norfolk & Waveney Speech & Language Therapy Service by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.
You can speak to other Norfolk parents and carers by clicking our online community forum below.